Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween re-cap, this week in podcasting, and an Advent Calendar in 7QT's

Ok you guys. Don't judge me, but this song has been playing on repeat in my house all week.  I just have to share it!!

I am still thinking about how fun Halloween was last weekend with Mia.  We started the night off with a potluck neighborhood block party, and then went out trick-or-treating like it was our j-o-b.

I think maybe because I had Zero expectation for Mia having very much fun, is why when she started having fun, it was SO MUCH FUN!  

After her first few houses, she started getting the hang of it and  r u n n i n g  up to the houses with her little candy bag in hand.  The funny thing was, she didn't know it was candy! She just thought it was fun to grab these wrapper things out of other people's baskets.  She would keep grabbing one-by-one until she got cut off.  It was so funny.

Yes I am wearing shorts and a tank top on Halloween night.  I, too, think this is crazy.

I'm still sad she refused to wear the first costume I bought for her this year...she was just the cutest little unhappy ladybug. 

On the Podcast this week, Bonnie Engstrom shares her amazing miracle story, along with a fun conversation about blogging!!  She ends with 5 blogging tips.  She's so awesome.

She gives a super funny rendition on her blog of the hilariousness going on at her house during the interview.  It truly was very funny as it all happened, because of course there's just nothing you can do!  All the noise gave me a fun peak into what a house with many kids sounds like...and I loved it. :)

Next week - on the Podcast - you guys.  It is going to be another amazing episode.  My heart is literally bursting at the seams.  I can't tell you who it is yet, but I can tell you that you are going to Love It.

For any of you who went to college with me, you may get a hint from this photo, dug up from the deep college photo abyss. 

 Little Flowers - May 2005

And that's all I'll tell you.

My last podcast take and then I promise to move on, but I am just so so excited that This Inspired Life made it to #1 on Christianity's New & Noteworthy!! <<Photo evidence to keep tucked near my heart forever because I'm such a nerd, of course.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has helped spread the word!!! I am just blown away. Thank You Thank You!!!

Another super fun announcement. So for the past few Advents I have been looking for just the right kind of calendar for me.  One that is beautiful, decorative, and that also includes the daily mass readings. All-In-One.

Well everybody, I thought about it all year, and then finally decided a month ago to just make my own.

Eek!  I am so excited about it.  My amazing and talented friend Clarissa created the artwork, and on the backs are the daily Gospel readings and a short reflection by me.  I am selling it on Etsy, so if you're interested check it out!

Lastly, a quote by C.S. Lewis about miracles in honor of Bonnie's story she shared on my podcast this week. Because he's so awesome at making me think.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!! And GO ND, BEAT ASU!!!  I'll be there in person since it's here in AZ...pretty much deserves it's own miraculous take.  I have the best husband in the world.

Don't forget to checkout the rest of the Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

AZ Share That You Care

I'm really excited to start featuring some local finds on the blog, and I'm starting off with a super cool event that I attended a few weeks ago!

The event was called AZ Share That You Care and was put on by Pineapple Triangle, a group of awesome girls who host events to promote local businesses while giving back to the community.  For AZ-STYC, they set up something like a "local market," invited the community to come and shop, and each shop donated 20% of their revenue to their favorite charity.

First of all, what an awesome concept, right??

Second, the venue was A-MAZing.  It was an indoor/outdoor abandoned (and refurbished) building called The Icehouse, and if you are looking for a venue in the Phoenix area, you have to check it out.  

If I was throwing a huge party, this is where I'd have it.

Third - there were so many awesome shops there, I couldn't even get to them all!  My favorite, which also happens to be owned by my close friends, is called 

They have an online store filled with super cute kids shirts and sweatshirts, super unique printables, and just recently they added beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade capes!!  

Because don't all kids need a cape??

Isn't this perfect for a nursery or kid's room!!??  I plan on hanging all their prints when we move Mia into her "big girl" room. 

So, to stay in the loop about Pineapple Triangle's next events, follow them on Instagram or checkout their website

And Shop Local!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Mother's Blessing

Earlier this week I was honored to be a part of a beautiful ceremony celebrating my friend Sharon. She is a few weeks from giving birth to her second child, and she wanted to do something different than a baby shower this go-around.

So some of her good friends gathered around her and threw her a Mother's Blessing.  (aka. Blessingway)  It was one of the coolest evenings I have ever experienced!  Here is a brief recap of the night in seven {Awesome} quick takes!

And thank you Sharon for letting me use your photos!! :)


The night started with amazing food and great conversation.  Our favorite wine sommelier (everyone needs one of these in your friends group!) poured up some awesome wine and we started the night off right.


Knowing Sharon would love it, we hired a Henna artist to paint a tattoo on Sharon's belly.

You guys. I am not exactly the type to show my bare belly during pregnancy, but I would seriously consider getting a Henna tattoo next time I'm pregnant.  It is just so beautiful!!!!


After we ate, we went outside to this amazing set-up:


We then each lit a candle that we had brought and went around the circle offering encouragement and our favorite things we love about Sharon.


Then we each took a rock and wrote a word on it that we wanted to offer Sharon to think about, or know that we were praying for while she is in labor.  Strength, peace, grace, etc...


Throughout the ceremony there were beautiful readings from the Bible as well as from the book shown above, Jesus Calling.  Then at the end we did two things - we connected ourselves by one piece of string around our wrists, and then cut it.  We will wear it until she goes into labor.  Then we laid hands on her and prayed.


At the very end of the night we took home the candle we had lit.  We are then going to re-light it when Sharon goes into labor as a reminder for us to think about her and send her positive thoughts and prayers.

You guys, what an amazing night.  I highly recommend doing something similar for any mom you know who is about to give birth.  It can be done so many different ways depending on what kinds of things the mom likes to do.

It was just such a meaningful night for everyone, and while the night was all about Sharon, it really bonded us as fellow mothers and friends.  

It was -- you guessed it --  freaking awesome.

8th bonus and completely shameless take: 

I released the 3rd and final part to the Child Development and Identity podcast series today!  It is an awesome interview, you have to check it out!!!!

In it I interviewed MaryRuth Hackett, a developmental Psychologist and mom of four.  In the 3rd part of the series we talk about how to help instill confidence and a healthy self-esteem in our kids.  We talk about things like body image, family culture, and the importance of the language we use with our kids.

Check it out! :)

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Free Samples

I know I already mentioned how awesome Costco is. thing I would like to specify, is how awesome FREE SAMPLES are.

Not only do they sustain us mentally, emotionally, and physically..

Ok actually I mean just physically.

But they also take little girls

from this:

To this:


Does anyone ever feel like going back for seconds at the samples cart and pretending like it was your first time there?


Just me?

Be honest guys.  You know free samples are that awesome.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Walk

Every day Mia asks me (by leading me around the house and pointing / grunting / whining) to do things for her. And maybe half the time I tell her no, and the other half I oblige.

Yes, you may have some more cheerios.

Sure, you may play with my ipod and pretend it's your smart phone.

OK, sure, let's play outside on the porch now.

No, you can't sit on the counter top.

No, you can't play inside the fridge.

No, you can't play with my laptop.

Well this afternoon her biggest (I mean biggest) request was to go for a walk.  Not in her stroller. Not in her wagon.  Not even in her bike-that-I-push-thing. She wanted to hoof it herself.  Old school.

So - here we went. Out the door.  Down the driveway.  To the street. (No sidewalks. I know.)

And I have to say, it was the best part of my day.  I had to walk   s l o w l y  with her hand in mine, as she looked up at the planes and this way at the dogs barking and that way at the neighbors' houses.

Then she decided exactly half way through that she wanted to take a little breather.  And you know what?

It was her walk. So we took a breather.


And we sat and we sat.  And we waved at neighbors as they drove by and waved back at the funny neighbors (us) on the curb, and we splashed our (her) hands in the puddle, and we enjoyed the cloudy, beautiful day.

And it was awesome.

And we (I) realized that sometimes, it's good to just say yes to the whims of my 1-year-old and go along for the ride.

[For an uneventful video of our excursion click here]

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Today I saw this post from Abby Johnson, someone I admire a great deal.  It included inspiring thoughts on forgiveness, and I thought it was worth sharing.  She is AWEsome.

I am incredibly passionate about the pro-life cause being focused on fighting evil and not each other, and I think Abby does an incredible job at bringing non-judgement, forgiveness and love into this incredibly polarizing cause.  If you haven't read them, her blog and book are definitely worth checking out.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meal-Planning Start-Up

I have been in a super huge food rut lately, eating the same things day in and day out.  I mean, the SAME. THINGS.

So I decided to do two things today:

1. Get some meal planning inspiration online, and

2. Get a Costco Membership!!!!

It's time, you guys.  No more hearing about my friends list all of their favorite Costco foods, or reading about or seeing on IG with great envy this chick taking her little chick-a-dees.

And I am happy to announce that both goals were accomplished!!

So, of course I have been to a Costco before, but it was so much fun with my own little membership card and my own little [massive] cart going up and down every isle.  My bank account was not thrilled, but this mama and her bland shelves were.

Also, I came across this really Awesome 2-week meal plan that included meal ideas for all meals and snacks in the day, and I seriously printed - yes you read that right - printed -  off so many of the recipes. They are just healthy enough (or easily adjusted to be more healthy) for what we like.  There was also a recipe for healthy fudgecicles which - can you GET enough fudgecicles in your life?

No. I think not.

So, I'm sure you'll hear me ramble on about a recipe or two in the near future, so come back if you dare. And if you have any favorite meal planning guides I'd love to hear about them!!!!!!

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


This morning I woke up in the dark and headed out to the MP9k, a race that helps support Maggie's Place (my previous employer / the best nonprofit ever).  

It was a great morning -- beautiful weather, a good friend to jog/walk beside with our strollers, and our little girls were just the cutest in their race bibs for the Kid's Dash.  

I just think her ponytail is the cutest thing ever.  Basically because I'm her mom.

It was truly an awesome morning seeing old and new friends, enjoying the beautiful weather that we've been waiting (And waiting) for, and pushing myself to jog Faster!!! as the cutest 3-year-old slave driver above shouted us on.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Second-Hand Shops

Buying things from second-hand shops (thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales) is one of my favorite things.

Not only do I find great things that I need (and often don't), but I find them on Tha Cheeaapp.

How fun is that????

It's so fun, it's Awesome.

Another awesome thing: When your friend takes you driving around on a Saturday morning, with 2 kids in the back seat, looking to score some sweet deals.  And then when that friend stuffs a huge Little Tikes car in the front seat while you chill in the back with the kiddos...that is even better.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Story Time

Well it's almost to the end of day 2 of this ridiculous 31 Day Challenge and I realllllyyy would like to skip today because I have *so* much to do yet tonight...

BUT - I am resolute. I will not skip a day, no matter what. <<<The things I tell myself.

So today I am posting a great photo from earlier today, which was taken at Story Time (a loose term with these hoodlums) at a local coffee shop / bookstore called Changing Hands.

I call it:

That Time All The 1-Year-Olds Sat Still For A Photo: AWESOME.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Awesome!

Ok guys, here goes nothin!  I have joined The Nester and the rest of the 31 Dayers and have committed to writing a blog post every day for the month of October.

Yikes!  Crazy, I know.  But I'm really excited about the theme I've chosen, because I think it will be a really good exercise for me.  So here's the deal: in the spirit of The Book of Awesome (affiliate link), I am going to be looking for and reflecting on all those "little" awesome things that happen, or that we realize, throughout my day.

Like that time a friend returns a shirt you forgot you had.
Or when your kid takes a 2 hour nap.  
Or when you find $5.
Or when the temperature outside is perfect for a walk.
Or when the salt on your salted chocolate chip cookies from LGO is just right. (Phoenix peeps whatUP!)

Those are the awesome moments I think we really need to acknowledge, because they are the ones that make up our live on a daily basis.  Not just those awesome moments of holding your child for the first time, or your wedding day, or graduating from college. Those are AWESOME of course, but they are few and far between, and the days in between seem long and uneventful.  

But they are not, my friends! They are filled with even the tiniest glimmer of awesome, and this is something I need to remind myself.  So 31 days of reflecting on it, it is.

And just for fun, here are a few Awesome quotes from Neil Pasricha's book:

"Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see.  And that moment is right now.  And that moment is counting down.  And that moment is always fleeting.  You will ever be as young as you are right now."

"The point is it's such a great feeling to scarf cookies with abandon like Cookie Monster.
Truly, he is the role model for us all."
--The book of (Even More) Awesome

"The [Five Second Rule] has may variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Takes Me To Pick Up This Food Rule."

If you guys haven't read the book, it's definitely one to check out!

Have an awesome day :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Telluride Re-Cap

Last week it was time to pack up the car with food, snacks, crackers, toys, more snacks, and an audio book and head up to Telluride, CO for a friend's wedding!

It was quite the trip, so here are my favorite photographed moments in an authentically <<Quick>> Seven Quick Takes.

On our way there, I watched the map attentively (also being the navigator and all) and told Joel I was very excited to stop at the 4 Corners and take an epic family photo!!!!!!!

With a sleeping Mia at this very juncture BOTH TIMES through, this is apparently as close to a family photo at the 4 Corners as I am going to get. 

I read somewhere that one of the best ways to keep little toddlers occupied in a hotel room is to unplug the phone and let them play with it.   

I can strongly attest to this brilliant idea.

On Friday we had all day to hang out before the wedding that evening.  We first went to breakfast in downtown Telluride, and took the gondola to get there!

Who isn't excited for cool weather clothes!!!!???

And who doesn't think this is the scariest decent down a mountain, dangling on a cable, of all time?

While we sat in some grass to eat our breakfast sandwiches, I noticed Mia walking away quite cheerfully from her baby.

And for some reason the carefree expression on her face just cracks me up! 

Me: "Mia, where is your baaabbyy????"
Mia: ".....dumdy-dumdy-dum....."

That afternoon after naptime, Joel took Mia to a little lake by our hotel.  She loved the ducks!

...In sort of a creepy way.

Then she tried out her new "peek-a-boo" pose before heading back...

That night, the wedding was beautiful!!  It was near the top of a mountain, and if I hadn't been so distracted by the fact that Mia dropped my phone down the cracks of the huge deck we were on, I would've taken more scenic shots.  

^^My favorite shot of the night. You can tell she is about to be up to no good!

The trip was an awesome break from the still-100-degree heat that is September in Arizona.  But October is around the corner, and hoodies and layers and trips to the park are in our future.  I can't wait!!

I just released my 4th podcast Episode of This Inspired Life!  I'm talking with Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas about Women and the Church - it was an awesome chat!  You won't want to miss it ;)